Thai pensions for foreigners living in Thailand

Living in Thailand

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Like many countries around the World, Thailand has a well established social security system funded by employee’s contributions as well as contributions from the employer. There are different sections to the social security system, and when you’re living in Thailand for the long term, there are certain benefits too.

The social insurance system is designed for old age, disability and survivors. All those who are in employment and between the ages of 15 and 60 can make contributions to this system. A worker will contribute 3% of their gross monthly earnings towards pensions and family benefits. If you want to make additional voluntary contributions you can contribute 9% of earnings up to a maximum of THB4,800 each month. Those who’s earning are less than THB1,650 per month will not make contributions. The self-employed will make an annual contribution of THB3,360. In addition to this, those who are employed will have their contributions topped up by the employer by 3% and the government will add a further 1%.

To be eligible to claim the old age pension a person must be at least 55 years of age and have made at least 180 months (15 years) worth of contributions while living in Thailand. The pension can only be claimed if the claimant is no longer working and if he/she begins work after claiming the pension is claimed it is suspended until they stop work again. If a pensioner dies within 60 months of beginning to claim the old age pension a lump sum is paid out to the spouse, children and any surviving parents. The pension that is paid out is the equivalent of 20% of the average salary earned in the previous 60 months before retirement. Payments are increased by 1.5% for each period of 12 months of contributions over and above the minimum 180 months. There is no minimum pension when you’re living in Thailand.

In addition a family can claim child allowance each month of 350 THB for each child providing they are registered in the social security system. There is no contribution required for this but the family must have made a minimum of 12 month’s worth of contributions in the 36 months preceding the claim. This benefit is paid out for children under the age of 6 but a family can only claim for a maximum of 2 children.

All those working are eligible for medical cover if they have a work permit and are making contributions to the social security system while they’re living in Thailand. All those who are not in the system should have private medical insurance to cover them. If you have a work permit and are working then contributions are compulsory, no matter what your nationality.

In order to register with the social security fund it is necessary that the employer completes their paperwork first and provides the worker with the SSO 1-03 form to be completed. This should be presented along with a photocopy of an ID card and a passport, and any other ID documents that are requested. The employer needs to send these to the social security office. When registration is completed the worker will receive a social security card 5 days after registration and this card remains the same no matter how many jobs the person has. There is also a medical card which is sent out after 3 months contributions have been made so that the holder can receive free medical treatment while they’re living in Thailand.

Thailand does have some bi-lateral social security agreements in place but these are mainly with neighbours in the Pacific region.

The information provided is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change. It is always advisable to speak to an expert to get correct, up to date advice prior to commencing your business.